Delhi got slight relief from toxic air on Thursday, as higher windspeed and overnight rain helped reduce the concentration of pollutants. The relief, however, is short-lived.
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), air quality is expected to be ‘poor’ on Friday and ‘very poor’ on Saturday.
Officials at the Delhi Pollution Control Committee said windspeed on winter nights is usually less than 1 metre per second. On the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, this was more than twice at several locations across the city.
As a result, Delhi woke up to blue skies and air quality in the ‘moderate’ range. The air quality index value was recorded at 194, the best in the past two months.
On Wednesday, the air quality index value was 392 — in the ‘very poor’ category.
The relief came despite high humidity and dipping temperatures — factors that help increase the concentration of pollutants.
Officials at SAFAR said: “Respite is expected to be short-lived, as relative humidity is very high and temperature is likely to cool. If winds slow down (expected by Friday evening), pollution may start to build-up faster, and may push AQI to the ‘very poor’ level by the weekend.”